Coast Guard rescues 3 sea turtles caught in illegal fishing gear

A Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boat crew rescues three green sea turtles caught in 200-yards of illegal gill net fishing gear approximately a quarter mile north of the mouth of the Rio Grande River, near Brownsville, Texas, Nov. 24, 2019. Gill net is a form of fishing gear consisting of a wall of netting with mesh sizes designed to allow fish to trap their heads through the netting and is illegal to use in Texas waters. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boat crew rescues three green sea turtles caught in 200-yards of illegal gill net fishing gear approximately a quarter mile north of the mouth of the Rio Grande River, near Brownsville, Texas, Nov. 24, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard rescued three sea turtles caught in 200-yards of illegal fishing gear approximately a quarter mile north of the mouth of the Rio Grande River, near Brownsville, Texas, Sunday.

Coast Guard Station South Padre Island crews spotted the illegal gill net fishing gear with five blacktip sharks and eight sea turtles entangled. Of the wildlife recovered, three green sea turtles were alive and released back to their habitat.

“This incident is yet another example of the negative impacts of illegal fishing gear being set in U.S. waters,” said Lt. Kurtis Mees, Station South Padre Island commanding officer. “Not only does it impact this endangered species, but the entire ecosystem as a whole. Fortunately, we were able to free three live green sea turtles and remove this gill net before it trapped and killed any additional marine life.”


Gill net is a form of fishing gear consisting of a wall of netting with mesh sizes designed to allow fish to trap their heads and is illegal to use in Texas waters. Gill net has been a major source of mortality for all sea turtle species due to their susceptibility to become entangled in the net.

If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). For all suspicious activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.


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